Header Graphic
Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 970-983 Daniel C. Fox Jr. to Abraham Harley

DANIEL C. FOX, JR., [pages 970-971] a prominent farmer, was born in Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, January 14, 1830, and is a son of Frederick C. and Hannah (Kauffman) Fox, natives of Montgomery county, Ohio, and Rockingham county, Va., respectively—the former born in Miami township February 25, 1809.

His paternal grandfather, Daniel B. Fox, born in Virginia June 6, 1783 was a son of Frederick Fox, a native of Germany (Hesse-Cassel), who came to America in 1768 and located in Virginia, on what is now known as the battle field of Antietam, where he engaged in the hotel business, and entertained such celebrities as George Washington. In 1807 he settled in Franklin, Ohio, where he resided for many years. In later life he located in Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, and died there. His first wife was Catherine Booker, and his second wife a widow, Mrs. Young. Daniel B. Fox settled in Miami township in 1808, and resided there until his death. His wife was Susan Crissman and bore him ten children, viz: Elizabeth (Mrs. William Phillips), Theresa (Mrs. Andrew King), Frederick C., Susan (Mrs. Jacob Mason), Mahala (Mrs. William Reed) Catherine (Mrs. James Boyd), Christina (Mrs. William Hendrickson), Melinda (Mrs. Pearson Etress), Mary (Mrs. Daniel Brininger) and Daniel C, Of these Frederick C. was reared, lived and died in Miami township, was a farmer by occupation, and cleared and improved the farm now owned by Mays & Zehring. His wife, Hannah, was a daughter of John and Rachel (Shoemaker) Kauffman, and his children were Daniel C., Jr., Fred C., Jr., Susan (Mrs. Daniel Weidner), Hannah (deceased), Catherine (Mrs. Franklin Petticrew), Caroline (Mrs. Enoch Stansell) and Delilah (Mrs. Okey McCabe).

Daniel C. Fox, Jr., is one of the fourth generation from Frederick Fox (first), the progenitor of the family in America. He was reared to manhood on the old homestead in Miami township, and received his education in the log school-house of his day. He began life as a farmer, which has been his principal vocation, but, being a mechanic by natural bent, has been identified with other projects in that direction. In 1854 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Benner) Gebhart, of Miami township, who has borne him four children—Ellis (deceased), Harold, Mary E, (Mrs. Francis Yetter) and Daniel G. During the late Civil war Mr. Fox was a member of company D, One Hundred and Thirty-first Ohio volunteer infantry, and was honorably discharged after 100 days' service. He is a member of the G. A. R., in politics is a republican, and is one of the most widely-esteemed citizens of Miami township.


ADAM FRANK, [pages 971-972] mayor of Germantown, Ohio, and an attorney at law, was born in Germantown July 2, 1831, a son of Mathew and Barbara (Loy) Frank, natives of New York and Montgomery county, Ohio, respectively.   His paternal grandfather, Lawrence Frank, was a farmer of New York state, and his maternal grandfather, George P. Loy, was a native of Maryland and a pioneer of German township, Montgomery county, Ohio, where he cleared and improved a farm; in later life he retired to Germantown, and died there. Mathew Frank was a pioneer shoemaker of Germantown, followed that vocation all his life, and died at Germantown in 1869, in his seventieth year. His children were Mary (Mrs. Daniel Bussard), George, Adam, John C., William H. and Nancy J. (Mrs. Holcomb Snyder).

Adam Frank passed his youth in his native town and was graduated from the Germantown academy. During his minority he learned the shoemaker's trade, which he followed for twenty-five years, and during that period studied law. He was admitted to the bar in the early 'seventies, and has since been in the active practice of his profession at Germantown, where he has been prominent in the settlement of estates. Mr. Frank has been twice married; his first wife was Nancy, daughter of Israel and Catherine (Catrow) Lucas, of Wapakoneta, Ohio; to this union was born one daughter—Mary C., now deceased. His second wife was Mrs. Vandalena. L. (Hinkle) Stirewalt, of Germantown.

Mr. Frank, in his fraternal relations, is a thirty-second degree Mason, and is also past grand high priest of the grand encampment of Odd Fellows.   He has been secretary of Friendship lodge, I. 0. 0. F., No. 21, of Germantown, since December, 1857, a period of thirty-nine consecutive years, and has filled all its various offices. He is a charter member of canton Frank, of Germantown, named in his honor, and organized March 28, 1888. He organized the first beautiful Rebekah work, put on the floor February 23, 1883, by Grace Rebekah lodge, No. 39, Germantown, and which has since developed in various forms throughout the United States. He has been representative to the grand lodge of Ohio for ten years, and of the grand encampment for about the same period; also district deputy grand master and district deputy grand patriarch for several years. In the Masonic fraternity he has been master of the Germantown lodge, No. 257, for twenty-seven years. He has served as justice of the peace of German township for thirty-seven years; mayor of Germantown, at intervals, for twenty-six years; clerk of the school board for twenty-five years; notary public for twenty-five years; secretary of the Germantown cemetery; and president of the Germantown Fire company for over thirty years. In politics Mr. Frank is a republican. In his societary connections, few men have attained positions, so high in the various orders to which he belongs as has Mr. Frank, and this fact alone shows not only the caliber and strength of his mentality, but also the high respect in which he is held by his fellow-men.  In his profession he stands in the foremost rank, and in all the relations of life has proved his worth as an individual and his value to society.


REV. JACOB GARBER, minister of the German Baptist church, and a substantial farmer of Madison township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born March 8, 1821, in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia, and was about fifteen years of age when brought to Ohio by his parents.

John Garber, his paternal grandfather, was probably born in Pennsylvania, of German parentage, and moved from that state to Maryland and thence to the Shenandoah valley of Virginia. He was a farmer by vocation, and, like his ancestors, was a German Baptist in religion. He reared a family of five children, named John, Samuel, Solomon, Catherine and Rebecca, and lived to the patriarchal age of eighty-eight years. John Garber, father of the Rev. Jacob Garber, was born in Frederick county, Md., on Pike creek, about the year 1785, and went to the Shenandoah valley with his parents. After his marriage to Nancy Erbaugh, he located on a farm in Rockingham county, Va., on which he lived until the fall of 1835, when he brought his family to Ohio and settled on 160 acres in Madison township, Montgomery county—making the journey by wagon. Mr. Garber first occupied a log house on his new farm—for it had been partially improved—then fully redeemed his place from the woods, built a brick dwelling, and made for himself and family a comfortable home. His children were named Hettie, Jonathan, Sarah, Samuel, Jacob, John, Susan, Nancy, and Daniel, all of whom were born in the Shenandoah valley, and came to Ohio with their parents. The family were members of the German Baptist church, of which two of the sons, Samuel and Jacob, became ministers. Mr. Garber was called from earth in 1858, in the seventy-third year of his age, honored by all his neighbors for the uprightness which had characterized a long and useful life.

Rev. Jacob Garber in his youth received the customary district school education and passed his earlier manhood on the home farm. November 3, 1842, he was united in wedlock, in Madison township, with Miss Catherine Vaniman, who was born November 10, 1820, in the same township, her parents being Jacob and Mary (Bowman) Vaniman.

The father, Jacob Vaniman, was a native of Bedford county, Pa., and at the age of fourteen years was brought to Ohio by his parents, John and Catherine (Morton) Vaniman, who settled in Montgomery county in 1802, cutting the way through the woods from Dayton to Madison township. John Vaniman, who was noted for his great size and strength, entered a full section of land in Madison township for a homestead, together with other tracts in Perry and Randolph townships, all lying in the unbroken forest. Indians were numerous in the neighborhood, having a camp on a hill upon Mr. Vaniman's homestead, but were neighborly and well disposed toward the white settlers. Mr. Vaniman erected a large stone house, the first in the township, cleared up a large farm, and died in his sixtieth year, one of the most honored of pioneers. His children were John, Kate, Betsie, Jacob, Polly, Hannah, Samuel, and others who died young.

Jacob Vaniman, the father of Mrs. Garber, after his marriage .with Miss Mary Bowman, located on 160 acres of the old Vaniman homestead, cleared the tract from the wilderness and erected an excellent brick dwelling, improving the place with everything requisite to equip a model farm, and there passed his years, respected and happy, until death called him away in his sixty-fifth year.  His children, in order of birth, were named Catherine, John, Elizabeth, David, Jacob, George, Daniel, Mary and Barbara.

After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Garber they located on a farm of 157½ acres in Madison township, which Mr. Garber had bought and partly cleared, and upon which he resided for eighteen years, when he removed, in 1868, to his present farm of 269 acres, which is now in an excellent state of cultivation and modern improvement. Mrs. Garber died July 31, 1853. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Garber was blessed with six children, named Mary, Nancy, Lizzie, Susanna, Amanda, and Catherine (who died when young). Mr. Garber next married Miss Elizabeth Vaniman, and their children are Sarah, Barbara, Martha, Hettie, Harriet, Albert and Ezra. Mr. Garber united with the German Baptist church at the age of twenty-two years, and for the past thirty-five years has given faithful and untiring service in the ministry.


JOHN GEIGER, [page 973] a prosperous young farmer of Miami township, Montgomery county, was born in Shelby county, Ohio, June 24, 1857, a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Lanehart) Geiger, natives of Germany.

Jacob Geiger came to America about the year 1850, and for a short time worked on a farm near Buffalo, N, Y., at $4 per month; he then came to Montgomery county, Ohio, worked in the same capacity near Miamisburg for awhile, and later was for several years in the employ of Perry Pease, of West Carrollton, same county. In 1856 he married Miss Elizabeth Lanehart and moved to Shelby county, farmed there for five years, and then returned to Miami township and rented a farm. In 1872 he purchased the farm at West Carrollton on which his widow still resides; in 1881 he bought the tract in Miami township now occupied by his son, John Geiger, the subject of this memoir, and in 1892 purchased the farm on which his son-in-law, Charles Loesch, now lives. His fortune he accumulated solely by his business astuteness, and was a man of considerable wealth at the time of his death, which took place on his West Carrollton farm, December 15, 1895, at the age of sixty-two years, after a useful and honorable life. His children were five in number and were named, in order of birth, John, Henry, Frank, Carrie (Mrs. Charles Loesch), and George.

John Geiger, whose name opens this biography, was reared from early childhood to manhood in Miami township, and was educated in the common schools. His life occupation has been that of a farmer, and he has resided on his present place since 1882. In October, 1882, Mr. Geiger married Miss Catherine, daughter of Henry Loesch, of Miami township, and this union has been followed by the birth of four children, viz: Edith, Robert, Henry and Lester.   In religion Mr. Geiger is a Lutheran, and in politics is a democrat. He has been very successful in his calling and his industry and upright conduct have deservedly gained him the esteem of all his neighbors.


JOHN MARTIN GEPHART, [pages 973-974] a prosperous farmer of Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, is a native here and was born July 17, 1844, a son of Peter P. and Sarah (Shupert) Gephart, both natives of Miami township and of old pioneer families.

John Gephart, the paternal grandfather of John M., whose wife was Julia Brosius, came from Berks county, Pa., and John Shupert, the maternal grandfather, was also from the Keystone state. Both were pioneer farmers of Miami township, and were of German descent. Peter P. Gephart was reared to farming and this was his life-long and successful vocation. While still actively engaged in this calling, he died on his farm in 1856. To his marriage with Miss Sarah Shupert there were born four sons to perpetuate the family name in Montgomery county, these being, in order of birth, John M., Christopher, Mortimer and Nelson.

John Martin Gephart was reared to agricultural pursuits, on the parental farm, and he has found it to be to his interest never to relinquish this noble and useful calling, which students of political economy name as the prime source of the wealth of any nation. Mr. Gephart received the ordinary education vouchsafed to farm lads in the public schools of his township, and was no inapt scholar, The learning he there acquired has been sufficient for all the ordinary purposes of rural life, and he has subsequently augmented it by careful reading of the current literature of the present day and much of that of times past. In 1872 he began farming on his individual account, and since 1878 has occupied his present premises, which will compare most favorably, as to tillage, neatness and general improvements, with any farm of like dimensions in Miami township.

Mr. Gephart was most happily united in marriage, March 26, 1872, with Miss Barbara A, E. Baver, daughter of Conrad and Mary (Gebhart) Baver, of Miami township, and to them have been born two children—Mary E. (Mrs. Kerr Routzang) and Earl Wellington, who married Inez R. Girrard. Mr. Gephart is a member of the Lutheran church, in politics is a democrat, and fraternally is a member of the I. 0. 0. F. encampment, D. 0. H., A. 0. U. W., and 0. U. A. M.   He enjoys the sincere regard of his neighbors and friends, and well sustains the honorable name bequeathed him by his ancestors.


EMANUEL A. GEBHART, [pages 974-975] a prominent farmer, of Montgomery county, Ohio, was born September 24, 1849, in Miami township, where he still resides, a son of John and Elizabeth (Kreitzer) Gebhart.   His paternal grandfather, Henry Gebhart, came to Jefferson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, from Pennsylvania in 1827, cleared and improved a farm, a portion of which is still owned by his heirs, and upon which he died at the age of eighty-four years, his remains being buried in Ellerton cemetery. His children were Hettie ( Mrs. John Billman), Hannah (Mrs. John Rider), Lucy (Mrs. Solomon Kreitzer), Rebecca (Mrs. John Kreitzer), John, and Sarah (Mrs. John Shuder)—all natives of Pennsylvania. John, the only son, was born in 1818, was reared in Jefferson township, Montgomery county, from his ninth year, and in early manhood purchased a farm in Miami township, on which he resided until his death, in June, 1884. His wife was a daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Gebhart) Kreitzer, of Jefferson township, and his children were nine, of whom five grew to maturity: Jacob A. (now deceased), Emanuel A., John A., Minerva (Mrs. Charles Kline), and Mary (Mrs. Morris Kline).

Emanuel A. Gebhart was reared in Miami township, was educated in the common schools and lived on the homestead until twenty-four years of age. He then lived seven years in Jefferson township, and, since 1882, has resided on the farm he now occupies in Miami township.

September 27, 1870, Mr. Gebhart married Miss Jennie, daughter of David and Julia A. (Walburn ) Bolander, of Miami township, and has five children, viz: Luie, Elsie (Mrs. Charles Rice), Daisy M. ( Mrs. Howard Bloss), Emma and Harry. David Bolander, father of Mrs. Gebhart, was born in Pennsylvania in 1802 and came to Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1817, where he farmed until his death in January, 1887.

Julia A. Walburn, wife of David Bolander, was also born in Pennsylvania, and came to Montgomery county, Ohio, when a girl. She has, since her husband's death, resided in the family of her son-in-law, Mr. Gebhart.

Emanuel A. Gebhart is a progressive farmer, a member of the Reformed church and has served eleven years as school director of Miami township ; he is one of the directors of the Montgomery county Mutual Fire association, and, politically, is a democrat. He is one of the thoroughgoing business men of his township, is public spirited, and ever ready, with his time and means, to assist in any enterprise designed for the benefit of the community. He is a true citizen, and, as such, holds the confidence, good will and respect of all his fellow citizens of Miami township.


MAHLON  0. GEBHART, [page 975] a prosperous farmer German township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Miami township, in that county, February 27, 1852. His parents, George S. and Magdelena (Gebhart) Gebhart, were also born in Miami township, George Gebhart, his paternal grandfather, and his maternal grandfather, John Gebhart, were both natives of Pennsylvania and both pioneers of Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, whither they came in the early days of the settlement of this section, and where they passed the remainder of their lives.

George S Gebhart, the father of Mahlon 0., was reared on the homestead farm in Miami township, but, some years after his marriage came to German township and settled on the farm now occupied by his son, Mahlon 0., and after a prosperous and honorable life, died here October 8, l888, leaving a widow and ten surviving children. The family of children born to George S. Gebhart numbered fifteen, of whom, however, but eleven reached the age of maturity, viz: Urias, Cornelius, Henry, Mahlon 0., Julia (Mrs. Jacob Gebhart), Magdalene (now deceased), Sarah. (Mrs. James Small), Susan (Mrs. Frank Gable), Hannah (Mrs. Andrew Organbright), Agnes (Mrs. Samuel McClain), and Emma (Mrs. Joseph Koeppel).

Mahlon 0. Gebhart, the fourth named of the children of George S. Gebhart who grew to adult years, was reared a farmer and passed the days of youth and early manhood in Miami and German townships. He has devoted much of his time to tobacco culture, and for six years of his life lived in Tennessee, in order to perfect his knowledge in the cultivation of this staple product. Excepting this absence, Montgomery county, Ohio, has always been his home.

The marriage of Mahlon 0. Gebhart took place March 18, 1881, to Lydia Lease, daughter of Daniel and Mary Lease, of German township. Mr. and Mrs. Gebhart are consistent members of the Lutheran church, and in politics Mr. Gebhart is a free-silver democrat.

Mr. Gebhart bears a good name in the community in which he lives, and, while still a. young man, he deserves much credit for the active part he has taken in the material advancement of German township.


HENRY B. GRAF, [pages 975-976] manager of the Miamisburg Brewing company, was born in Peru, Ind., January 26, 1863, a son of Henry and Ernestine (Krauss) Graf, both natives of Germany. His father, a wood carver by trade, came to America with his parents in 1847, and has been a resident of Peru, Ind., since 1863. Henry B, Graf was reared, in his native city, was educated in the public schools, and, at the age of seventeen years, started out in the world for himself, locating at Hamilton, Ohio, in 1880, where he served an apprenticeship of five years at the molder's trade, and then. took charge of a foundry as superintendent, serving in that capacity for two years. In 1887 he resumed his trade, which he followed until 1891, when he engaged in the flour-mill machinery business at Hamilton, in which he continued up to October 1, 1895. He then removed to Miamisburg, where he was employed by the Miamisburg Star Bottling works until January 1, 1896, when he was appointed manager of the works, and on February 18, following, was appointed manager of the Miamisburg Brewing company, and is still holding that position, as well as being secretary and treasurer of the company.

Mr. Graf was married September 17, 1885, to Miss Ella S., daughter of Henry P. and Ellen (Ball) Deuscher, of Hamilton, Ohio, and now the mother of his two children—Frank H. and Fred E.  Mr. Graf in religious belief is a Lutheran and in politics a democrat. He takes no especially active part in the affairs of his party, being simply content to exercise his franchise at the polls. He is public-spirited, however, and always ready to aid in promoting the good of the community as opportunity may offer, and through his hearty liberality has won many warm friends since he has been a resident of Montgomery county.


DAVID GROBY, [pages 976-977] a prominent citizen of Miamisburg, proprietor of a planing mill and an extensive contractor, was born in Stouchsburg, Berks county, Pa., May 25, 1825, and is a son of Henry and Catherine (Beck) Groby. The father, Henry Groby, a native of Germany, came to America in boyhood, and was 100 days in crossing the Atlantic ocean in a sailing vessel.  He settled in Berks county, Pa., and was there engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1854, when he came to Miamisburg, Ohio, and here passed the remainder of his life, dying in 1858, an honored citizen.

David Groby was reared to manhood in his native county, and received a fair education in the common schools, served an apprenticeship of two years at the carpenter's trade, and received the sum of $50 for his services, in addition to the instruction given to him.  He learned the trade thoroughly, however, and in 1844 came to Miamisburg, Ohio, and here worked as a journeyman for two years, when he made a trip to Illinois, where he passed eleven months, returning in 1847 to Miamisburg, where he again worked at his trade as a journeyman for five years; he then engaged in. contracting. He built the bridge between Germantown and Carlisle in 1867, rebuilt the lower bridge at Miamisburg in 1868, and constructed the bridge over the Miami river at Miller's Fork in 1868-69, In 1871 he established his present planing-mill, which he has operated ever since with entire success. In 1895 he purchased the farm of 100 acres settled by his present wife's father in 1810, and which is now included within the corporate limits of Miamisburg, and also owns a fine farm of 140 acres one mile south of Miamisburg, purchased in 1865.

Mr. Groby has twice been married. His first union was with Miss Eliza, daughter of Jacob and Saloma (Weitzel) Warner, of Miami township, which marriage was blessed with five children, of whom three grew to maturity, viz: Sarah, the wife of Henry P. Brehm; Amanda, married to W. Henry Benner, and Jacob B. The present wife of Mr. Groby was a widow—Mrs. Catherine (Weiss) Eagle. Mr. and Mrs. Groby are consistent members of the Lutheran church, and fraternally Mr. Groby is a thirty-second degree Mason, and also an active member of the Knights Templar encampment; he has been an Odd-Fellow for over fifty years, and is likewise a member of the D. 0. H. In politics Mr. Groby is a republican through conviction, and not a partisan through a desire for public office. As a business man he has risen to eminence through his industry and strict integrity in all transactions, and his name as such stands without a blemish, while as a citizen he is prominent and progressive.


HENRY GROBY, [page 977] the well-known contractor and builder of Miamisburg, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Stouchsburg, Berks county, Pa., February 13, 1853, a son of Samuel and Lydia (Rabold) Groby, both also natives of Berks county.   His paternal grandparents were Henry and Catherine (Beck) Groby, the former of whom was a native of Germany and came to America when a boy, being 100 days on the passage. He was reared to manhood in Berks county, Pa., came to Miamisburg in 1854, and here died in 1858.

Samuel and Lydia Groby, parents of Henry Groby, came to Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1859, and for four years Samuel Groby was engaged in the manufacture of cigars in Miamisburg, and then engaged in farming in Miami township—his present occupation. His children are three in number and are named Henry, Jacob, and Mary—the daughter being the wife of Martin Apple.

Henry Groby grew to manhood in Montgomery county from the age of six years, attended the public schools, and when of sufficient age served an apprenticeship of two years at the carpenter's trade with his uncle, David Groby, by whom he was afterward employed for eighteen years as a journeyman.  In 1892 he embarked, on his own account, in the lumber, door, sash and blind business, and also in contracting and building, and has been so steadily successful that he now stands at the head of that line of industry in this city.

The marriage of Mr. Groby took place in 1876 with Miss Lena, daughter of Joseph and Magdalena (Krout) Yordy, of West Carrollton, the union resulting in the birth of two children—Bessie (Mrs. David Dunn), and C. Howard.

Mr. Groby is a member of the Reformed church and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; is a charter member of and a director in the Miamisburg Building & Loan association, and in politics is a republican. He has won a well-established reputation as a master of his calling, his integrity and ability being widely recognized, and he and his family occupy a prominent place in the social circles of Miamisburg.


HON. GEORGE A. GROVE, [pages 977-978] one of the prominent citizens of Miamisburg, Ohio, and one who has been often honored with official position because of his eminent fitness for the places he has held, was born in Millersburg, Berks county, Pa., August 25, 1817. He is a son of Andrew and Eva (Holstein) Grove, and was reared by them in Berks county, Pa. In May, 1836, he removed to Miamisburg, where he served three years as clerk in a store, and was subsequently occupied in farming for ten years, residing on the Kercher farm until 1850. This farm many years ago became a portion of Miamisburg, and on it many of the finest residences in the place now stand. From 1850 to 1855 Mr. Grove prosecuted the gram and lumber business with Simon Huiet, owning a number of canal boats and engaging in trade along the Miami & Erie canal from Toledo to Cincinnati. In 1855 the firm of H. Groby & Co. was formed by H. Groby, Emanuel Shultz and Mr. Grove, for the purpose of entering the lumber trade, and in 1866 the well known banking establishment of H, Groby & Co. was founded by the same firm. This banking firm continued in business until 1879, when Mr. Grove withdrew.

Mr. Grove has been twice married; first to Christiana Kercher, daughter of Jacob Kercher, the founder of Miamisburg. To this marriage there were born two children, viz: John H., and Lucetta L., wife of Christian Weber. The second wife of Mr. Grove was Sallie Gebhart, daughter of Peter M. and Hannah (Ulrich) Gebhart, of Miamisburg. To this marriage also there have been born two children, Eva L. and Grace L.

In politics Mr. Grove has always been a democrat, and in 1865 was elected county commissioner, being the only candidate on his ticket that was elected, and the only democratic county officer at that time in the county. In 1868 he was re-elected by a largely increased majority, and in 1875 was elected representative of the county in the lower house of the general assembly. In 1877 he was elected to the state senate over his friend and partner in business, Hon. Emanuel Shultz. In 1880 he was elected a member of the state board of equalization, and as a member of this board rendered his county valuable service, succeeding in having the county valuation reduced nearly $4,000,000.   Mr. Grove has filled many minor positions of honor and trust, always with fidelity and efficiency, and has taken a prominent part for many years in all public enterprises and undertakings calculated to advance the material, moral and religious interests of Miamisburg. To his energy and perseverance is largely due the establishment of the Miamisburg hydraulic, and he was also instrumental in securing the city park, and has been a member of the board of park commissioners since its organization in 1889.  For more than sixty years Mr. Grove has been a member of the Miamisburg Lutheran church, and is universally regarded one of the best and most useful citizens of the place. In 1896 Mr. Grove was reappointed one of the commissioners of the soldiers' relief committee, this being his third term of three years and closing in 1899.


ADAM GRUVER, [pages 978-979] blacksmith of Miamisburg, Ohio, was born in Stouchburg, Berks county, Pa., February 12, 1843. He is a son of Isaac and Elizabeth (Groby) Gruver, and his father having died and his mother married again, he removed with her, then Mrs. William Stupp, to Miamisburg in 1853, and here he grew to manhood, receiving a good education in the public schools. Afterward he served an apprenticeship of two and a half years in the blacksmith shop of Daniel Bookwalter, a biographical sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume. Having completed his trade he was engaged in general blacksmithing in various parts of the country up to 1865. He then returned to Miami township and engaged in farming for two years, at the end of which time he entered the employ of Hoover & Gamble, in January, 1869, and remained with this firm until September, 1879, during the last five years of which period he was foreman of the blacksmithing department. In 1879 he established himself in business on his own account as a general blacksmith, and has thus been engaged ever since, meeting with well deserved success, and now conducting the busiest shop of its kind in Miamisburg.

Mr. Gruver was married October 19, 1865, to Sarah Gebhart, daughter of Andrew and Eliza (Eagle) Gebhart, of Miami township, and by this marriage he has seven children, viz: Sarah J., wife of Frank Hart; Anna E., wife of Charles M. Lambert; Charlie E., who married Anna Kimmerling; Edith M., wife of Howard Brehm; Henry, Mary E., and Lester.

Mr. Gruver has been a member of the Lutheran church since his boyhood days, is a royal arch Mason, a Knight of Pythias, an Odd Fellow (encampment and canton), and a Knight of Honor. In politics he is a republican, and as such he has served as a member of the city council of Miamisburg, meeting the general approbation of the people, and reflecting on himself the utmost credit for the ability he manifested in the transaction of the public business and the readiness with which he divested himself of all traces of partisanship while in his office. Both Mr. and Mrs. Gruver are people of excellent character and honorable impulses, and have many friends around them; they are ever ready to lend a helping hand to the needy, and equally ready to aid in any project to advance the public welfare.


FREDERICK G WINNER, [page 979] a well-known citizen of Montgomery county, Ohio, and one of the leading insurance men of Miamisburg, was born in Eneskerchen, near Cologne, on the Rhine, in Germany, May 12, 1832. He is a son of Jacob F. and Christiana (Neuman) Gwinner. He was reared and educated in Germany, and there learned the locksmith's trade, and in 1851, when eighteen years of age, emigrated to the United States, locating in Philadelphia, where he was employed for seven years in a chandelier factory. In the spring of 1858 he settled in Miamisburg, Ohio, where for two years he was engaged in grape growing and in the raising of tobacco. In 1859 he purchased the Washington hotel property, remodeled and improved the building and successfully conducted the hotel for twenty-three years.   In 1882, having acquired a competency through his prosperous business career, by frugality and strict attention to details, he retired from the hotel business, and for five years afterward was engaged in the buying of tobacco for a Detroit house. Since then he has given his attention mostly to the business of fire insurance, and to the management of his property. In 1878 he purchased the handsome brick block which stands on the corner of Main street and Central avenue, and which bears his name.

Mr. Gwinner was married in 1859 to Hannah Salomon, daughter of Joseph and Rose Salomon, of Germany, by which marriage he has four children: Rose, now Mrs. Samuel H. Mays; Jennie, now Mrs. John W. Burns; Arnold F., and Hannah, now Mrs. William Stroop. Mr. Gwinner has always taken great interest in the advancement of Miamisburg, and for a number of years was a member of the city council, leaving a record as one of the best men for the place that ever held the office.   He is interested in a number of leading stock companies, and for years has been a stockholder and director in the Teutonia Insurance company of Dayton. He is a director in the First National bank of Miamisburg, and a member of the Lutheran church. For more than forty years he has been an Odd Fellow, and for thirty years a member of the Harugari.   He has been a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen for seventeen years, and is also an active member of the Knights of Pythias. In 1890 he was elected decennial land appraiser for Miami township. Politically, Mr. Gwinner is a democrat. He is a highly respected citizen of Montgomery county, being well known to all its people as a most useful and honorable member of the community.


JOHN A. HALL, [page 980] carriage painter, was born in Miamisburg, Ohio, his present place of residence, December 26, 1846, and is a son of Jeremiah and Anna M. (Thompson) Hall, both natives of the Buckeye state and of German and English (Quaker) descent, respectively. His paternal grandfather, William Hall, was a pioneer of Ohio and was for many years a blacksmith in Miamisburg, where he passed his latter days. The maternal grandfather of John A. Hall was a farmer of Butler county, Ohio.

Jeremiah Hall, father of John A., was a machinist by trade and was reared in Miamisburg. During the late Civil war he served as a member of company E, Thirty-ninth Ohio volunteer infantry, going out as corporal, and for meritorious conduct and bravery in the face of the enemy was promoted successively to be sergeant, lieutenant and captain. After serving four years and six months he was honorably discharged and returned to Miamisburg, where he resumed his trade and followed it until 1894, when he retired to the soldiers' home, near Dayton, Ohio, where he is quietly passing his declining years.

John A. Hall, the only child born to Jeremiah, was reared in Cincinnati and was there educated in the public schools and also at Delaware college. He, too, became a soldier, enlisting in June, 1861, in company E, Thirty-ninth Ohio volunteer infantry (his father's company), and serving two and a half years as drum-major; he was then honorably discharged, and in 1864 enlisted in company D, One Hundred and Thirty-first Ohio volunteer infantry, serving three months as a private, and again received an honorable discharge.

After returning from the army, John A. Hall served an apprenticeship of three years at the painter's trade in Cincinnati with C. W. Miller.  He worked for eight years at this vocation in the railroad shops at Zaieski, Vinton county, Ohio, and then for two years with the Bookwalter company, of Miamisburg.   He next located at Columbus, Ohio, where he passed ten years, of which time two years and a half were spent as a guard at the state prison and the remainder of the time in working at his trade for the Columbus Buggy company. Since 1895, he has lived in Miamisburg in the employ of the Enterprise Carriage Manufacturing company.

Mr. Hall has been twice married. His first wife was Ada, daughter of Charles and Matilda Gist, of Zaieski, Ohio, and to this union were born four children—Charles J., Jeremiah C., Alice M. (Mrs. Milton Dutcher), and John B.  His second marriage was with Miss M. Elenora Scothorn, a daughter of William J. and Lydia (Long) Scothorn, of Jackson county, Ohio, and this union has been followed by the birth of five children, viz: Arthur, Newton, Edward, Mabel and Raymond. Mr. and Mrs. Hall are faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and fraternally Mr. Hall, is a member of the F. & A. M., I. 0. 0. F., K. of P. and the G. A. R. In politics he is a republican and socially stands high in the esteem of the inhabitants of his native city of Miamisburg, having, beside, many warm friends in the various other towns in which he has passed so many years of his useful life.


JACOB HAMMEL, [pages 980-981] an experienced and well-known farmer of Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born near Chambersburg, Franklin county, Pa., March 17, 1820, a son of Conrad and Christiania (Bittinger) Hamrnel, both natives of the Keystone state and of Swedish descent. The father was a blacksmith by trade and died in his native state at the age of eighty-four years—his wife dying when eighty-three years of age.

Jacob Hammel was reared to manhood in his native county, working on a farm during the summer months after he had become of suitable age for the performance of that class of labor. For five years after reaching his majority he drove a six-horse team, hauling freight from Chambersburg, Pa., to Baltimore, Md., and from the latter city to Pittsburg, Pa., there being no railroads in operation in those localities in that early day. In 1845 he was employed seven months in a boiler shop in New Orleans, La., and in the spring of 1846 came to Montgomery county, Ohio, and was employed one season in a brickyard in Alexandersville; the following year he was employed as a teamster, and in 1848 he purchased a canal boat, trafficked on the canal for three months, and then engaged in the manufacture of brick on his own account, following this industry five years. Since then Mr. Hammel has devoted his attention to farming in Miami township, making a specialty of tobacco, to the cultivation of which he has set aside twenty-five acres and has averaged as high as eighty-six and one-half cases of the product, of 400 pounds to the case—a success but seldom achieved in this latitude by the growers of this staple commodity.

Mr. Hammel has been thrice married, his first union having taken place in December, 1850, with Miss Elizabeth Leighty, who died in 1852; his second marriage, Januarys, 1856, was with Miss Catherine Mease, of Miami township, and this union was blessed with five children, viz: Annie, William, Mary C. (Mrs. Marion Recher), Nancy .and Nora. (Mrs. Roland Bradford); the mother of this family died May 8, 1878; his third matrimonial alliance was with Mrs. Louis Riggs—the present Mrs. Hammel—and occurred September 24, 1887. The family are members of the Reformed church, and in politics Mr. Hammel is a democrat. No farmer in Miami township stands higher in the esteem of his neighbors than Mr. Hammel, and but few have been more successful in their particular lines of industry.


ABRAHAM HARLEY, [pages 983] one of the most highly respected citizens of Randolph. township, Montgomery county, Ohio, and a successful and substantial farmer, is descended from Rudolph Harley, the originator of the Ohio family, who came to America from the German empire in the autumn of 1719.         

While there has been some question as to. the original nationality of the Harley family, which is a very ancient one, the preponderance of evidence points to Germany as the country of its origin, where it can be traced back as far, at least, as to the fifteenth century. It is true that the name appears in England, but chiefly after the date of the revocation of the edit of Nantes, 1685, through which over 4,000 of the best citizens of Germany fled the country in preference to becoming Catholics. In England, many of the Harley family became quite prominent, some even becoming members of parliament, and one, Robert Harley, became librarian to King George I. It is evident, too, that some of the family had gone to England prior to the revocation of the edict mentioned, probably under religious persecution, as one member, Thomas Harley, purchased from William Penn a tract of 5,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania, most of it in Montgomery county, the title to which is dated July 4, 1682. But it is not from him that Abraham Harley descends, as will be seen by the following record:

Rudolph Harley and his wife, great-great-grandparents of Abraham Harley, came from Germany to America in 1719, having, had a long and tedious, voyage, during which a son, Rudolph, Jr., was born to them July 14, 1719, the vessel not reaching America until autumn. For a while Mr. and Mrs. Harley made their home in Pennsylvania, where a daughter, whose name is not now remembered, was born.

Going to Hunterdon county, N. J., Mr. Harley lived there a few years, and then returned to Pennsylvania and bought a large tract of land in Franconia township, Montgomery county, about two miles from the present town of Harleysville.

Rudolph Harley, Jr., great-grandfather of Abraham, married Mary Becker, daughter of Peter Becker, of Germantown, who was the first elder of the Brethren church in America. To this union were born thirteen children, viz: Rudolph; Johanna, born April 21, 1743, and married to Honoly Stauffer ; Lena, who died young; Maria, born March 12, 1747, was first married to a Mr. Landis, then to Frederick Deal, and was the mother of nine children ; Rudolph, born February 7, 1749, first married Barbara Bach, and next a Miss Bombarger, and was the father of a large family ; Elizabeth, born September 9, 1750, was married to Christian Dettery, and had a large family ; Jacob was born June 8, 1752, never married, but lived to a good old age ; Heinrich was born July 1, 1754, married Elizabeth Keely, and had a family of fifteen or sixteen children ; Sarah was born June 20, 1756, was married to Elder George Price, of Coventry, Chester county, father of John Price and grandfather of Isaac Price, both eminent preachers in the Brethren church ; Samuel was born March 6, 1758, married Catherine Sauer, and had twelve children ; Joseph was born March 14, 1760, married, at the age of fifty years, Catherine Price, daughter of Jacob Reiff and widow of William Price ; Maria Margaretta, was born September 13, 1762, was married to Jacob Detwiler and also had a large family; Abraham, grandfather of our subject, was born June 14, 1765, and married Christiana Giesby, who was a very amiable and worthy woman and reared a large family of children, of whom three became ministers of the gospel—Abraham, Samuel and Benjamin.

Abraham Harley, whose son's name opens this sketch, was a direct descendant of Rudolph Harley, the immigrant, and was born in Montgomery county, Pa., in 1790.  He received a limited education in German, and attended English schools for about six weeks. Reared a farmer, he also learned the shoemaker's trade, and, beside these two callings, carried on milling.  He married Miss Catherine Reiff, who was born in Montgomery county, Pa. To them were born seven sons, as follows: Elias, Isaiah, Abraham, John, Lewis, Jacob and Aaron. Mr. Harley lived in Montgomery county, Pa., until 1819, and then removed his family, by means of teams and wagons, to Chester county, Pa., where he built a flouring mill. This mill he ran for several years, and in 1825 removed to Lancaster county, Pa., where he rented a mill in company with his brother.  One year later he located within seven miles of Lancaster, Pa., and there rented a large flouring mill, still house and sawmill, which he operated for two years.  In 1829 he came to Ohio, settling in Tuscarawas county, where he rented a mill. Remaining there one year he then ran a mill in Stark county, Ohio, which a year or two later burned to the ground.  Mr. Harley was again obliged to seek a new location, this time within four miles of Wellsville, near the Ohio river. After carrying on the milling business here for a short time, he came, in the spring of 1832, to Montgomery county, where he again rented a mill, six miles north of Dayton, on the Stillwater, and one year later bought a small piece of land near where Henry Becker now lives. To this small tract he added until he had 143 acres, and lived upon it seven years, when, in the spring of 1840, he removed to McLean county, Ill., where his wife died in 1856, and he married again, in Illinois.  He was a man of extremely vigorous constitution, and died in 1880 at the age of ninety years. In his younger days he was a member of the German Baptist church, of which he became a minister, and later was connected with the River Brethren church.  He was known everywhere as a man of strict integrity, of high Christian character, and of great kindness of heart.  Physically, he was strong and hardy, with an iron constitution, as is sufficiently indicated by the life he led, as narrated above.

Abraham Harley, the subject of this sketch, was born March 25, 1818, in Montgomery county, Pa., was reared a farmer and given a good common-school education. With his father's family he came to Ohio about 1829, when he was about ten years old. Until his twenty-third year he remained at home, working with his father, going with him to Illinois in 1840. Returning to Ohio in the fall of 1842 he worked a farm in Randolph township, Montgomery county. On March 24, 1842, he married Anna Becker, on the Becker homestead, she having been born there September 29, 1820, and being a daughter of John and Rebecca (Hart) Becker. For fuller mention of the Becker family the reader is referred to the biography of Henry Becker, to be found elsewhere in these pages.

After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Harley resided in Randolph township four years, and then, removing to Miami county, lived there ten years, when they returned to the old Becker homestead. On the death of Mr. Becker, Mr. Harley purchased the interest of the heirs and now owns the property, consisting of 102 acres of good farming land. Beside this he owns eighteen acres of the farm formerly owned by John Becker, the original pioneer of the Becker family. In 1860 Mr. Harley built a fine, three-story brick residence and has made many other substantial improvements, adding to, the comfort and value of his home. His brothers, John and Lewis, were soldiers in the late Civil war; John died in the hospital at Nashville, Term.; Lewis served three years in an Illinois regiment of infantry, and both were good soldiers.

To Mr. and Mrs. Harley there have been born six children, as follows: Jacob, who died when ten months old; Samuel, who died at the age of three years; John W., who died when ten years old; Reuben, Laban and Ernst. Mrs. Harley, who died in 1893, aged seventy-two years, was a woman of many excellent traits of character. Mr. Harley has always been a republican in politics.  His character is one of probity, and his life-long habits of industry and correct living have won him respect and confidence.

Return to "Centennial Portrait" Home Page